Smoking and its effects on lower back pain

Many people suffer from lower back pain. It is one of the most common problems that send people to see a doctor. Lower back pain can be caused by many factors.

Smoking affects you in a number of ways, some of which you may know about already. But when it comes to your back health, smoking can have detrimental effects that you think about for the first time.

There are many common causes for back pain such as age, disc degeneration, lifting something improperly, or sitting too long.

The health risks linked to smoking include lung cancer, emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which are bad enough. But research has revealed more: smoking can have negative impacts on your back health, too. Smoking can cause lower back pain in a number of ways as stated below. Let’s see the structure of the spine simply and dive into the relation between back pain and smoking.

Structure of the back and spine

Each major part of your body’s skeleton consists of one or more bones, cartilage and ligaments. Your spine is made up of bones called vertebrae, which are cushioned with cartilage.

The human spine consists of a series of vertebrae. Each vertebra is made up of three parts: the body, the spinous process and the vertebral arch.

The body is the bony portion of your vertebrae. The two halves of your vertebral arch are joined posteriorly to form the spinous process.

The vertebrae are the bones that make up your backbone, which is made up of 26 separate bones in adults. Each vertebra has an intervertebral disc that acts as a cushion. The vertebrae sit in your spinal column, a structure that connects your skull to your pelvis.

Spine Disc The Back Disc Prolapse  - Derks24 / Pixabay
Derks24 / Pixabay

Spinal cord is a long, neurone tube that runs from the brain stem to the upper part of your back and down through the centre of the body. It transmits messages from your brain to other parts of the body. Nerve roots that emerge from the spinal cord carry these neural signals.

Smoking affects blood flow to your spine

Smoking can also cause lower back pain by reducing blood flow to the soft tissue of your body and these reduce the ability to heal. Smoking is not a direct cause of lower back pain, but it does slow down the recovery if you are injured.

Back Pain Body Pain Ergonomics  - seoworkbuygenericpills / Pixabay
seoworkbuygenericpills / Pixabay

Smoking can cause serious, long-term damage to your health. Back pain is common among middle to old ages in both men and women. Smoking can be detrimental to back health, causing not only lower back pain but also upper back pain.

Smoking affects your bone health

The nicotine in cigarettes can also reduce bone density, which isn’t good for your spine. Smoking is one of the least healthy activities you can do for your body. Smoking not only affects the lungs and oral cavity, but it can also affect other parts of your body such as posture, blood vessels and even your bones.

Spine Bone Back Pain Vertebrae  - kalhh / Pixabay
kalhh / Pixabay

Smoking affects absorbing nutrients

Smoking can cause a great deal of health issues, and if you already suffer from back pain, it will only exacerbate the condition. Smoking has been proven to reduce your body’s ability to absorb nutrients in the foods we eat, which is crucial for healing and recovery.

Smoking cessation and relieving of back pain

Back Pain Spine Injury Backache  - Tumisu / Pixabay
Tumisu / Pixabay

Studies have shown that smoking is associated with back pain as well as smoking cessation may lead to relieving of back pain in certain individuals. Prevention of smoking or else cessation of smoking can both improve the symptoms and benefit the individuals by reducing the occurrence of back pain.

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About Author

Chaleepa Mallawa

Chaleepa is working as a doctor based in Sri Lanka. He has interest in content creation based on health, science, tech and motivation.